What alarm system is best for you?

Your home is less likely to be targeted by burglars if you have a burglar alarm system set up. But how to decide which one is best for you and your home? There are a number of different kinds of alarm systems, each with a variety of different benefits.
Choosing the right alarm for you will depend on your budget, where you live, and the size, location and layout of your home, as well as the level of protection you want.

Wired alarm systems

In a wired alarm system, each sensor is connected to the system through wires. This makes the system very reliable as the sensors won’t lose power or their connection with the monitor. However, the wires from a wired alarm system may be visible within your home.

Wired alarm systems tend to be cheaper than wireless versions, but you’ll need to pay to have these professionally installed. The installation will mean that you get the right set up for your home, as the installers will know exactly how many sensors you need, and where to put them for the best possible security.

Key benefits

  • Affordable
  • Reliable

Wireless alarm systems

Wireless alarm systems connect through radio signals instead of wires. They are generally more expensive than wired systems, and each monitor requires batteries to run, which will increase the overall running cost. However, it is possible to fit a wireless alarm system yourself, meaning you won’t have to pay extra for installation.

Wireless alarm systems are easy to expand by adding more sensors, and they’re also much easier to take with you if you move house than a wired alarm system would be.

Key benefits

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to expand

Smart alarm systems

A smart home security system connects to your smartphone or tablet and allows you to control your home security remotely. You can set it up to notify you if your alarm is triggered.
A smart home system can be personalised to suit your needs, so you can fit CCTV cameras, additional sensors, smart plugs, smart lights and more to improve your overall home security. You can install the additional features yourself, but without the help of an installation expert, there’s a chance you might not place all of the items in the best possible location.
You will need a mobile signal or an internet connection to receive notifications and control your smart home devices when you’re not home, so this might not be ideal for people living or working in remote areas.
If you already have some smart home features like smart heating, a smart alarm system makes a valuable addition and can be set up to run on the same hub.
Smart alarm systems can be expensive, and will likely be costlier than wired and wireless alarms. Adding extra smart home accessories to your system can also be pricey.
Key benefits

  • Can be managed remotely
  • Easy to personalise
  • Ties in with your existing smart home system

Burglar alarm types

Once you know what kind of alarm system you need, you’ll also need to choose which type of burglar alarm you want. Some burglar alarms simply make a loud noise to deter potential intruders and alert neighbours of a disturbance, while more advanced alarms can inform chosen persons of the trigger, or even contact the police directly.

Bells-only alarms

Also known as audible alarms, bells-only alarms make a loud noise to deter intruders, but do not make contact or notify anyone of the intrusion, so there is no guarantee that anything will be done to stop a burglary.

Smart alarms

Smart alarms connect to your smartphone or tablet via an app, and can be programmed to notify you of any security breaches within your home. You can trigger your alarm remotely, and also turn it off in the case of a false alarm.

Dialler burglar alarms

These automatically call nominated phone numbers of friends, family, neighbours or yourself when triggered. Once notified, your chosen contacts can either visit your home to investigate or else call the police. You can enter up to 10 people to contact, which will be dialled in priority order. Also known as auto diallers, there are two types:

  • Speech diallers use your phone line to call assigned numbers. You’ll need a landline and wires connecting your alarm to your telephone.

  • GSM diallers use mobile network signals, so they will need a Sim card with credit to make contacts when required, as well as a telephone signal.

Monitoring contract

With a monitoring contract, you pay a fee each month or annually to have your alarm system monitored. The alarm system connects to a receiving centre, which is notified every time the alarm is triggered.

The receiving centre will then call your home landline and ask for password identification. If nobody answers, or if the identification is incorrect, the centre will contact your chosen keyholder or the police. The keyholder must live within 20 minutes of your home, be able to drive, and have access to your home.

With a monitoring contract, the dedicated company can be held liable if no action is taken when your alarm is triggered.

If you’re looking to upgrade your entire home security package, our guide to the best CCTV set up will help you work out what you need.